Pope Vows Abuse Apology in Australia

He vows to help sex abuse victims, who say cover-ups continue
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2008 2:06 PM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI, center, is escorted across the tarmac by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd after his arrival at Richmond Air Base on the outskirts of Sydney, Sunday July 13, 2008.    (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
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(Newser) – Traveling to Sydney today, Pope Benedict promised to apologize for a sexual abuse scandal that has rocked Australia's Catholic Church, Reuters reports. He also vowed to ensure it never recurs, and to help Australian victims heal—but one victims' group still accuses the Church of covering up abuse by priests and ensuring they never go to trial.

Benedict also said he hoped the 70-million-member Anglican Church would not split over a move to ordain women bishops. Some Anglicans, outraged by female priests, have said they may switch to Catholicism. But Benedict said his "desire is that schisms and new fractures can be avoided." Asked what he will do, the pope added, "My essential contribution can only be prayer."